DENVER: Pop superstar Taylor Swift was celebrating Monday after winning a sexual assault lawsuit against a former radio DJ she accused of groping her.
A jury in Denver federal court deliberated for four hours before allowing her complaint that David Mueller had fondled her buttocks during a photo opportunity in 2013.
Swift was awarded the nominal $1 in damages she had asked for, capping an emotional day for the “Bad Blood” singer, who had broken down in tears during the closing arguments.
The 27-year-old diva issued a statement thanking the court and acknowledging her legal team for “fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by a sexual assault.”
“I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this,” she said.
“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”
The singer had turned away from the public gallery to wipe her eyes earlier in the day as Mueller’s lawyer Gabriel McFarland questioned whether his client would have any reason to assault the star.
The singer’s mother, Andrea Swift, also had tears in her eyes during the session as she handed her daughter tissues.
“I don’t know what kind of person grabs or gropes a music superstar, but it’s not that guy,” McFarland told the court.
He repeatedly said the singer was wrong in her assertion that Mueller had stuck his hand under her skirt and “grabbed her bare ass cheek” during a meet-and-greet before Swift’s gig at the Pepsi Center.
‘No means no’
Swift’s aides complained to the DJ’s radio station of the incident and he lost his job.
Mueller launched a $3 million lawsuit against Swift in 2015 for loss of earnings, arguing it was her allegations that had got him sacked, while the popstar counter-sued for sexual assault.
US District Judge William Martinez scaled back the case on Friday, ruling that there was no evidence for Mueller to be entitled to damages from Swift personally.
The six woman, two-man jury ruled Monday that Swift’s mother and radio consultant Frank Bell weren’t liable for damages either.
Doug Baldridge, Swift’s attorney, had told the jury in his closing arguments that the sole issue to be determined was whether someone like Mueller should be allowed to humiliate or assault a woman.
“Should aggressors like Mr. Mueller be allowed to sue their victims?” Baldridge asked the jury.
The dollar in damages Swift sought “is of immeasurable value,” Baldridge said, adding: “It says ‘no means no.’ It tells every woman that they will decide what happens to their bodies.”
Baldridge told reporters outside the courthouse that the jury had “knuckled down and did the right thing.”
“Something really big happened here today. It took someone as prominent as Taylor Swift to stand up and say no,” he said.
“This really means something for the one in four women who are victims of sexual assault.” AFP